Since the 1970s during big sports events, you frequently see people holding up a sign with John 3:16. It is imprinted on the bottom of paper bags and pop cans, on billboards and t-shirts. It began as an evangelizing tool used mostly by born again Christians.
Today, we have it encased in our reading for the 4th Sunday of Lent. I am also drawn to the interplay between light and darkness. There is so much unhealthy darkness in our world today because of bigotry, poverty, exclusivity, unbridled violence and the list could go on and on. There are many who choose darkness … the darkness of greed, the darkness of power, racism, sexism and other addictions. It would be easy to slip into the darkness of hopelessness and/or helplessness. Yet, we have John 3:16 to anchor us in hope.
God loved the world. God sent a great light into the world.
We are called to keep pushing back the darkness by our work for peace, by our ministry to the poor and marginalized, and by our efforts to be public voices for those who have been silenced. We are called to push back the darkness when we stand with the immigrant. We push back the darkness when we pray with the dying, visit the sick or write to our political leaders. We push back the darkness in so many ways – some big and some small; some acknowledged and some never noticed.
God so loved the world that God sent his Son. His Son sends us to be witnesses of God’s love, to be bearers of the light that the darkness cannot overcome.